Muscat 100, Sultanate of Oman

All good things come in threes, as is the case with the luxury family-friendly resort Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah. This stunning mountain meets sea resort is home to the family-friendly Hotel Al Waha hotel, town-like Al Bandar Hotel and the oh-so-exclusive hotel Al Husn, intended for adults and families with older kids (16 years and above). From the moment your car approaches the winding road up the hill where hotel Al Waha is located, you know your holiday is going to be more than adventurous. Right we were, for when it was time to head back home, it was clear to all of us that we wanted to be back at this resort for our family holiday, year after year!

Essentials:
  • Baby cot
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer
  • Baby bathtub
  • Child toilet seat
  • Highchair
  • Child menu
  • Stroller
  • Doctor on call
  • Interconnecting rooms
  • Babysitting services (OMR 3/hr from 7 am-12 am; OMR 5/hr after 12 am; minimum charge of OMR 9)

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Family Favourites:
  • The friendly staff greeted us with chilled drinks and gave us the lowdown on the many activities that abound here like dolphin watching, kayaking, diving and more. There are lovely nature paths for walks amidst the lush foliage, hills close by for rock-climbers and water sports for the beach buffs.
  • For water lovers and kids, Hotel Al Waha offers a baby pool attached to the big pool, a splash park and a beautiful beach, with clear and calm water where kids can collect shells and looking out for crabs. My ten-year-old daughter held a large shell in her hand which suddenly started walking. We then discovered the shell was hiding a hermit crab!
  • The icing on the cake, however, was the lazy river which went around the hotel and was manned by several life-guards, so we could leave our seven and 10-year-old to enjoy many rides together on a double tube, knowing that they were well taken care of. Even my three year-old loved his lazy river rides, with mum and dad, of course.
  • Our two connecting rooms on the ground floor opened onto a pitch from where we could sit and watch our kids in the pool. The activities on offer by the poolside were enough to keep the kids occupied for days, without a thought of leaving the resort. We even had poolside massages while the kids were busy with face painting and arts and craft at the poolside.
  • The family-friendly Adventure Zone for kids is close to the Al Waha hotel and can be reached by the shuttle. Kids can spend hours on the high slides there. There are also soft play areas, gaming consoles like PlayStation for the older lot, computers, a climbing wall and more.
  • The Cool Zone Kids’ Club is located at the Al Waha Hotel and comes with indoor and outdoor play areas and friendly staff. Henna, kids’ yoga, Lego creation and origami are some of the fun activities offered here.
  • Daily camel and pony rides on the beach. Fun!
  • Dining options at Shangri La leave you spoilt for choice. Their many restaurants offer separate menus for kids and the options are plenty. Our kids loved having their lunch by the poolside and the staff usually whipped up something to their liking, even if it meant a variation from the menu. Breakfast buffets offered a wide range, from continental to Indian, seafood and Arabic cuisine. It is worth noting though that the restaurants offer fabulous Friday brunches and therefore tend to attract a large local crowd. Naturally, the poolside does tend to get very crowded then.

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Parent’s Perks:
  • ‘Outdoor’ Thai massages in cabanas by the pool – perfect while the kids are engrossed in craft, henna and face painting at the poolside.
  • Chi, The Spa.
  • Several adult-only areas at the resort.

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The Resort:
  • Distance from Seeb International Airport – 44 km
  • Drive from Muscat – 15 minutes
  • 640 Rooms & suites
  • 11 Restaurants
  • 7 Bars
  • 6 Pools
  • Spa
  • Fitness Centre

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Mandy’s Tip: Guests at the luxury family-friendly Al Waha hotel and town-like Al Bandar hotel can enjoy all facilities at both these hotels, so really you’re getting 2 for 1! Guests at (the priciest and the most luxurious of the three) Hotel Al Husn can enjoy facilities at all three hotels, including their own private beach. Naturally, what you pay for is what you get!

Travelling mom Neda Mulji contributed parts of this review.

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